We all suffer from it, some more so than others. It starts out with a feeling of fogginess and disorientation and then almost as if by the snap of the finger, I feel as if I’ve been hypnotized and suffer from some form of amnesia, at least this is how it all began for me.
It started early, in the first trimester of my pregnancy with Davey. At that point, I blamed it on lack of sleep, which could have been a factor in feeling like I was sucked dry of all brain cells. As the months and years rolled by, one child became two, and I found that it wasn’t just from lack of sleep. It actually had me wondering if “mom brain” is a legitimate condition and if so, what causes it.
A couple of years ago, The Journal of Experimental and Clinical Neuropsychology examined evidence around reports of memory loss in pregnant and postpartum mothers, finding that your ability to organize and plan is disrupted during pregnancy and postpartum. I knew it!
There can be various reasons for “mom brain” including biochemical and situational, but there are also pregnancy hormones affecting brain symmetry. In other words, when a woman may have once been left brain dominant (logical), chemical imbalances can distort that and she could become right brain dominant (sensitive). As we all know, most of us don’t think logically when we’re sensitive.
Most studies I’ve read have stated that moms go back to their normal cognitive functions after they stop breastfeeding. Unfortunately for me, I seem to be in the minority of this case. My mom brain has gotten worse as opposed to getting better and I’m going into 2 years since I last breastfed a child.
Why write about this now? I suppose it’s because I’ve become less and less patient with myself as I continually suffer from mom brain. What are some of the signs I experience? Well, just last week I had an encounter with my youngest. He told me his name was Henry, not Davey. I knew that. Then why did I continue to call him Davey, he asked. I told him that he and his brother have sucked me dry of my brain cells, to which he responded with, “do you want them back?” Yes, my son! I would LOVE to have them back, but it appears mine are quickly dissipating, never to return especially if all of these studies I’ve been reading are true.
It’s not just that I call them by each other’s names, but I’ve also been known to call them by the dog’s name.
I have conversations with my husband. Not unusual, I know, but most of these “conversations” I have are in my own head. He’s at work all day, I can’t immediately talk to him about what’s on my mind, so I have the “conversation” with him and I portray how I think he will respond. The problem with that is I completely forget that the conversation didn’t happen with a willing and participating second party. This in turn leads to arguments of, “I told you that” and “we’ve discussed this already.”
I find myself wanting to say something, knowing in my brain what it is and how I want to say it, but it’s almost as if the spark isn’t there between my brain and my speech. I know that’s a doorknob that’s broken, for example. I can see it with my own two eyes, and I can see the word in my head, but I can’t for the life of me spit it out of my mouth! I’ve never had a problem with speaking, especially speaking my mind, at least not until I had kids.
Then there’s my coffee. My coffee intake has dramatically decreased for various reasons, but mostly because I get distracted by one of my kids and completely forget not WHERE the coffee is, but that I even HAD coffee to start with!
I lose my keys at least once a week, forget my YMCA membership card periodically, and I’ve even been known to forget to pack my son’s lunch before! What the heck has happened to me? Mom brain, that’s what.
I’ve even managed to sit down to write a blog and completely FORGOT what I wanted to write it on. I lose my train of thought mid-sentence, leaving me longing for the days when I could have intelligent conversations about our country’s state of affairs, the economy, and anything NOT child related. I no longer think logically, but have instead been reduced to a scatterbrained version of my former self. Could I even handle it in the working world again?
I’m sure many of you have suffered from this phenomenon. And if you’re like me, almost 5 years into being a mom, you STILL suffer from it. Unfortunately for me, it appears I will be stuck with it for quite some time. There have been zero signs of improvement. On the plus side, while frustrating to me, mom brain has proven to be humorous to others. I suppose you have to find that silver lining somewhere.